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Who are all the countries in the world in debt to?

I hear everywhere how Greece is in debt, France is in debt, the UK is in debt, Poland is in debt ....
I hear that part of these debts are so called internal debts i.g. governments owe money to their respective citizens, which boils down to us being in debt to ... ourselves. This concept in itself does not boggle my mind as much as the fact that anyone in their right mind is willing to buy it.
Part of these debts are so called external debts. Now, this can basically make sense only can anyone explain to me where does the buck stop i.e. who is the ultimate source of all that enormous credit? Since I am a kind of a redneck, can someone explain this in very simple terms steering clear of the language of economics which of course was developed for anything but explaining things?


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  • Feb 12 2013: I figure that the debt is owed to other nations, who hold the bonds (for the debt). What I don't understand is why you can't mutually forgive debt, ex. if Greece owns some of Italys' debt and italy owns some of Greeces' then why not mutually forgive, effectively reducing debt between the two making things better.

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